How to keep your passwords safe for enhanced digital security

Kfir Yeshayahu

December 14, 2023

  • # Account Protection
  • # Fraud Prevention
  • # Biometric Security

As revolutionary as online technological advancements have been, they’ve introduced one big headache: password management.

The average person manages around 75 passwords. And, as cyber threats become increasingly menacing, crafting unhackable codes is ever-challenging. 

But the effort is worthwhile, since proper password management protects you from financial and identity fraud, among other things. Learning how to keep your passwords safe is a vital step in online security.

How can hackers access your passwords?

Hackers use a range of sophisticated techniques to access your passwords, each posing unique threats to your online security:

  • Phishing: This involves sending fraudulent emails or messages mimicking legitimate organizations that trick you into entering passcodes on fake websites. These scams can be highly convincing, using urgent language or threats to prompt immediate action.

  • Brute force attacks: Hackers use automated software to rapidly guess passwords, targeting accounts with weak and common combinations. 

  • Keylogging: Criminals install malware known as keyloggers on your device to record every keystroke, capturing your passwords as you type them. They might install this malware via malicious email downloads or compromised website links.

  • Wi-Fi eavesdropping: When you use unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, hackers can intercept the data transmitted between your device and the Wi-Fi router. This is especially easy if websites aren’t encrypted using HTTPS.

  • Social engineering: Beyond digital methods, hackers also use psychological manipulation, often posing as customer support or IT personnel to trick you into revealing your passwords. They exploit trust and authority to extract sensitive information or learn how to see saved passwords on your iPhone.

  • Shoulder surfing: Wondering how to find saved passwords on a Mac or the passcode to an iPhone? Shoulder surfing is a more direct method where hackers physically observe you entering passwords on your devices, often in public places like coffee shops, airports, and libraries. This risk is heightened when you're distracted or in crowded areas.

  • Using stolen data: Cybercriminals often take advantage of large-scale data breaches, where millions of usernames and passwords are leaked. They use this stolen data to attempt access to various accounts, banking on the fact that many people reuse passwords across different services.

6 great techniques for keeping your passwords safe

Knowing how and where to keep passwords safe protects you from various threats, like account takeover fraud, credit card fraud, financial fraud, and identity theft. Hackers could even hold your accounts or information for ransom or use your profile to attempt to defraud others. Here are six best practices for proper password management.

1. Use biometric password protection

Sometimes, the answer to sufficient password security is literally at your fingertips. Biometric authentication methods use biological traits — like fingerprints and facial structure — to grant device and app access. 

Common password managers may use biometrics to access their app, but that doesn’t provide more security — just more convenience. Use a tool like IronVest, which uses biometrics as a fraud prevention tool for each account you attempt to log into.

2. Create strong, unique, and if possible, biometrically protected passwords for each account

Be conscious of how strong your passwords are, trying to create unique sequences of characters that include symbols and numbers. The more complex and random the code, the harder it is to crack. 

Another great method for creating safe passwords is using a browser extension like IronVest that randomly generates and saves passcodes for you and offers another layer of security via biometric authentication right from the browser. 

3. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA)

MFA (or two-factor authentication, also called 2FA) adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification — like asking users to use an authenticator app or receive a 2FA code by SMS — While authenticator apps can be effective against brute force attacks, 2FA codes sent by SMS can be intercepted by bad actors using a scam called SIM Swap

4. Regularly audit passwords

Changing passwords regularly limits long-term exposure, reducing the chance password guessers hit on your chosen code. But don’t rely too heavily on regular password changes, as remembering even more codes might cause you to choose simple and easily guessable combinations. Instead, audit your passwords regularly, not necessarily changing all of them but instead swapping out any that are overly simple or used across multiple platforms.

5. Avoid predictable security questions

Selecting unique and unpredictable answers to security questions adds an additional barrier against unauthorized access, leveraging personal knowledge that only you should know. The challenge lies in choosing answers that are both memorable and not guessable to balance personal relevance with security.

6. Use a secure password manager

A password manager can securely organize and facilitate the use of complex passwords. It simplifies password management, especially for those with numerous online accounts. 

But not all password managers are secure. Most are built to create and autofill passwords conveniently, but if the master password to the manager is compromised, it creates a single point of failure. 

Use a tool that takes a more advanced approach to security and uses biometrics to unlock each account, from any device.

Dangerous password storage methods to avoid

Navigating online security is daunting and ever-evolving work. Make it easier by avoiding these common password management pitfalls:

  • Using built-in browser password managers: Browser-based password managers, like those built into Chrome or Safari, offer convenience. But they often lack advanced security features found in dedicated password manager platforms. This deficiency makes them more susceptible to hacking and malware attacks. And if your browser gets compromised, all stored passwords could be at risk.

  • Writing down passwords: Storing passwords in physical form poses significant security risks, like someone finding and using this sensitive information. And you’re also not safeguarded against disasters like fires or floods, potentially leading to a total loss of account access.

  • Reusing passwords across multiple accounts: Using the same password for multiple accounts is a common but risky practice. If hackers breach one account, every account using that same password becomes vulnerable.

  • Using easily guessable passwords: Simple passwords, especially those based on readily available personal information like birthdays and anniversaries, are easy targets for hackers. Criminals often use software that can quickly guess these types of passwords, and social media and personalized web pages make it easier for hackers to find personal details.

Revolutionize your password security with IronVest

IronVest provides a revolutionary approach to password security, offering a browser extension and mobile apps that create, secure, and autofill passwords protected by biometrics. Our platform takes digital security a level up with decentralized information storage practices.

Get IronVest today and enjoy a safer digital experience tomorrow.

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